Man, this is getting to be a bear for you. I'm at a loss for direct solutions for your green water issues. So I'll just spitball some ideas and questions. Clearly your travel obligations are interrupting any good progress you may have been making to rid it. What were the results of the blackout a few posts back? Did the green water come back just as bad as before? Was there even any temporary relief? Who feeds your fish while you are away? Or do you rely on vacation blocks? What has your lighting been like lately? Does it coincide with the daylight hours of high ambient light from your pool? Only one HOB still? I've read about people running UV filters for this sort of problem. but I loathe to suggest you run out and buy stuff. Probably redundant filters if anything so that your the fine 1st stage filter doesnt get clogged and leave your tank with little filtration for long weeks when you're not around.
Thanks guys--this is getting a little old, to be honest. Some answers to your questions:
I did the erythromycin & blackout treatment, and it did make a big difference. Not 100%, but much improved, so I thought I was finally on the right track. I put in a couple of bunches of hornwort before leaving again--thinking it's alleged alleopathy & general nutrient-sucking would outcompete the algae. But while the hornwort flourished and took over nearly the top third of the tank by the time I'd gotten back, the water wasn't any better. I'd planted most of it in the substrate, and it was shading the lower portions that were starting to turn brown--not to mention shading all the other plants. Didn't want the hornwort to start shedding needles given how notoriously messy it is, so removed all but two sprigs this week.
Feeding: Have mostly let the fish fend for themselves while away. The pea puffers will only eat snails--plenty of those for them. The otos will only eat algae. They've ignored the green wafers, cucumber & kale I've tried test feeding them, but the snails & ghost shrimp made short work of those. The guppies have been fine with no food when I'm away. The fry seem to have found plenty in the hornwort & substrate, and the adults are probably feeding on algae & fry--either their own or the ghost shrimps'. Did have one experienced fishkeeper stay a week the last time I was away, and I know she didn't overfeed. And there weren't any ammonia or nitrite/nitrate spikes--those have all stayed consistently at zero since the cycle finished. The one exception is right after my first dose of Thrive a few days ago when it nitrites tested at 5.
Haven't tried vacation blocks. One of my earliest childhood traumas was when we returned from a family vacation to find the "feeder shell" for the goldfish bowl had killed everything & made a putrid mess. Still have PTSD from that.... That said, I did let the LFS owner talk me into trying out a "TetraWeekend block"--just daphnia in agar according to the label. Will try a small amount this week on days before water changes to see if they'll even eat it. I suspect the snails & shrimp will swarm & devour it before the fish even find it--just like they did with the veggies, so doubt I'll end up using it if I'm not around should it go uneaten & foul the water. More than likely the fish will be fine for 2 wks, and even if a few of the younger guppies die off the shrimp & assassin snails will devour them before they can decompose. Early on one of my female guppies bullied to death a male & rival female, and I never found any trace the corpses.....
Lighting: I've been at 6hrs a day--from 1:30 to 7:30 pm. There is some direct diffuse light though glass block that hits the side of the tank the last 20-30 min of the day, so timed it to coincide with that. But yes, the room gets light by 5:30am, and the north-facing room is filled with ambient light reflected off the pool through the window wall. Cut it down to 5hrs/day today, and will see if that makes a difference. Guess I could go to 4hrs/day while I'm away, but am afraid less than that could kill my plants....
Filter: Yes, it's one Aquaclear 70 in the middle of the tank--so the flow hits the front glass, goes down and washes over the substrate towards the back. I'm not seeing any totally dead areas (much to the distress of the puffers, who only come out when I turn the filters off to feed or clean) Nor am I finding any collection of detritus in the corners or anywhere. Most of the substrate is covered with plants or rock, so I can't really use a gravel vac--which was way too strong and sucking up plants, fish, shrimp, etc. But I do blast everything with a turkey baster when I'm sucking out water during changes. Between the shrimp & snails I'm not seeing much organic matter, just a fine cloud of mulm when I blast the substrate. Just ordered a rigid 5/8" tube to attach to a drain hose to make it easier to clean during WC, so that'll help. I do leave the filter off during WC & cleaning because the HOB turns into a waterfall when the water level drops and wreaks havoc. @DaveKS
did suggest a way to jury-rig a DIY extension to soften the fall when the HOB didn't fit all the way down on the tank rim. But I sanded the rim enough so it now sits flush. But could try doing that during the water changes so I can leave the filter on to suck up in real time what I blast out. Leaving the sponge prefilter off for now, and replaced the inside sponge with polyester floss to see if that will catch more of any gunk than the sponge. And will definitely leave the prefilter sponge off while away. Never used the carbon pad--just added more bioballs instead. Would carbon or purigen help remove the dissolved organics? And do I need even more filtration than the current AC70? If so, would simple sponge filter do the trick?
Originally Posted by livebearerlove
I guess im a bit stumped..... there is obviously 'something'. I must have missed something.
Did the water ever get any better?
Do you use a fish 'feeder'?
How ard you reading right now? ph, gh, kh (super hard or soft can cause issues), ammonia, nitrates, nitrites?
Honestly- I would have broken it down by now- I commend your dedication. I would have changed substrates, no ferts, cleaned everything till it sparkles and start it back up. Its a glass cube that we try to make an ecosystem. Something is bound to go wrong- but never for this length of time IMO.
Note: ipkiss and I said something very similar. Not deliberately.
Great minds think alike!
Readings: pH about 7.0 (tap is 7.8, so the STS is lowering it--for now)
My multi-test strips don't have kH or gH. Total hardness reads ≈50mg/l, and total alkalinity at ≈40mg/l. Is there a way to calculate kH, Ca & Mg levels from those values?
I'm trying NilocG's Thrive for a week because my ludwigia is severely stunted, and the proserpinaca somewhat--so there obviously aren't enough nutrients in the water column for them. Algae must be sucking it all up. Don't have tests for P & K to know if those are deficient--which is another theory for the GWA. What are your favorite tests for those? Or are there any kits for the parameters you think most important that are reasonably priced? (Not looking to spend hundreds here.) I'm currently using the strips & the API ammonia test.
Yes, if it didn't get better the plan was to start fresh--which is why I was eyeing that 75g during the Petco sale. But I tore my right rotator cuff this week--so given that I basically just have the use of one arm, I'm not gonna be able to take down or move tanks anytime in the near future (months, likely) . So I guess I'll just have to assess the options when I get back in August & take it from there....
Yes, I've read that diatomaceous & UV filters will work. Are there any reasonably priced models you recommend, given that there's an Amazon Prime sale coming up this week? Though if I order now, I won't be here when they deliver it. Not sure if they allow delayed delivery on sale items like that.
Thanks for your input guys, and apologies for the lengthy responses--but like to be thorough so you don't have to keep asking follow up questions. And I certainly appreciate all the good advice I've gotten from you & others on here. Seems like some of it should've worked by now, but...
Starting to feel like Job here LOL